COVID-19 update for health providers - level 2 and level 4

Monday, September 13, 2021 - 12:04

What health providers need to know about screening at different alert levels.

Antenatal and newborn screening programmes

Antenatal and newborn screening programmes are considered high priority and will continue to operate across all COVID-19 alert levels, but with some changes as appropriate to ensure that health staff, women and babies are kept safe.

More details on different levels can be found in the downloads section (to the right of this text).

Breast screening and cervical screening

  • At level 4, routine screening is paused for breast and cervical screening services, except for some required annual cervical screening.
  • At levels 2 and 3, breast and cervical screening continue with safeguards.
  • At alert level 1, breast and cervical screening return to normal.

For additional guidance for both breast and cervical screening at different alert levels, refer to the downloads section on the COVID-19 page.

Bowel Screening

  • The National Bowel Screening Programme is continuing at all alert levels with safeguards in place to keep participants and staff safe. Participants can still expect to receive their invitation to take part in bowel screening. They can continue to return their completed screening test and this will be processed. If the test result is negative, the participant will get a letter. If it is positive, they will be contacted by phone. At Alert Level 4, bowel screening colonoscopies for those with a positive bowel screening test result are not performed. These resume at Alert Level 3 and continue to be performed at Alert Level 2. Alert levels may vary by region.
  • If someone is experiencing possible symptoms of bowel cancer, such as a change in their normal bowel habit that continues for several weeks or blood in their bowel motion (poo), they are encouraged seek advice from their family doctor, who will take appropriate action which may include referral for urgent assessment and treatment.

Updates to the health sector will come through your contacts within the National Screening Unit.

Page last updated: 10 September 2021